Vancouver, BC – More than 30 groups across Canada today sent a letter to B.C. Premier Christy Clark urging the provincial government to reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline. An effective ‘world-leading’ oil spill response system, which the province demanded, is not possible if the oil contains diluted bitumen.

The proposed Kinder Morgan Expansion pipeline, which would result in a six-fold increase in tankers carrying bitumen through the Salish Sea around Vancouver Harbour, is widely expected to receive federal approval.

“Premier Clark has laid out her five conditions for the Kinder Morgan pipeline, but continues to ignore the highly credible peer-reviewed science that shows there is no spill response technology in existence that can clean up sunken diluted bitumen,” said Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance. “We are calling on Premier Clark to reject the pipeline on the basis her spill conditions cannot be met.”

As the letter states: The Salish Sea is more than a body of water. It is what defines much of Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. From the iconic beauty of Kits Beach and Stanley Park, to the commercial fisheries and tourism businesses that employ thousands, to recreational fisheries and outdoor activity that defines our communities and our livelihoods— the Salish Sea is a cherished presence in the lives of anyone who lives or visits the southern coast.

“From coast to coast, a growing number of Canadians reject the risks tar sands pipelines pose to coastal communities and our drinking water,” said Patrick DeRochie, Climate and Energy Program Manager at Environmental Defence. “Just like we’ve called on elected officials to protect the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Fundy, we’re urging Premier Clark to protect Vancouver’s waters from bitumen spills.”

The letter cites the 2016 study by the National Academy of Science (NAS)—the scientific advisor to the U.S. Congress and President —that examined the entire field of existing studies on the environmental fate of dilbit (including a government of Canada 2013 report). It concluded that dilbit can and will sink when spilled in water, increasing the impacts associated with a spill.

“Twenty-one B.C. municipalities, 17 First Nations, as well as countless environmental groups and citizens across the country are opposed to Kinder Morgan because the science clearly shows the oil spill risk is too great and the impacts too catastrophic,” said Sven Biggs, energy campaigner at Stand. “We urge Premier Clark to listen to the science and stand up to those, including Prime Minister Trudeau, who want to see Kinder Morgan built.”

Meanwhile, British Columbia’s multi-billion tourism industry would be directly vulnerable.

“Approving Kinder Morgan with its massive increase in tanker traffic would put thousands of tourism jobs at risk,” said Randy Burke, Director of Bluewater Adventures. “Any oil spill will receive massive international media attention and literally ‘tar’ the reputation of this precious coast for years to come.”

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For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director Georgia Strait Alliance, (604) 862-7579;

Tim Ehlich, Environmental Defence, (647) 468-3641 or tehlich@environmentaldefence.ca;

Sven Biggs, energy campaigner at Stand, (778) 882 8354;

Randy Burke, Director, Bluewater Adventures, (604) 980-3800